We decided to go to Brussels for the day with our friend Patty and picked Aux Armes de Bruxelles on Rue de Bouchers for lunch. A Brussels institution since it opened in 1921, this family-owned establishment offers gracious, rather formal service, combined with a casual, relaxed ambience. It's an excellent place for an introduction to Belgian cooking, since it combines traditional cuisine with great quality, and offers just about every regional specialty you can think of, including mussels in every conceivable style. We had eaten here on a previous trip to Brussels and decided to return.
The interior is very elegant with white tablecloths, stained glass windows and polite waiters.
I decided on prosciutto and melon for a starter since it was a warm day, Patty had vegetable soup and we shared some white asparagus.
For our Plats, Lisa had Tartare d'avocat et crevettes grises, suprêmes d'orange, avocado and shrimp with suprêmes of orange. I had the Salade de haricots verts frais et magret de canard fumé, basically a cold green bean salad with a delicious smoked duck. Patty had the well known Waterzooï de poisson, which includes the classic soup-base of egg yolk, cream and thickened vegetable broth with potatoes, vegetables, sole and salmon. This was really delicious.
Waterzooï is a Belgian dish of stew, originating in Flanders. Its name derives from the Dutch term “zooien” meaning “to boil”. It is sometimes called Gentse Waterzooï which refers to the Belgian town of Ghent where it originated. The original dish is often made of fish, either freshwater or sea, (known as Viszooitje).
For desert we had the choux à la crème or profiteroles which in Belgium are usually filled with ice cream and covered with rich dark Belgian hot chocolate. Patty had the chocolate mousse which she polished off. We thought the food was excellent, the service was good and since we were eating at an odd time, the middle of the afternoon, the continuous service was appreciated. Additionally, it is a quiet and air conditioned place on the busy Rue de Bouchers. The comments on TripAdvisor were generally good although some did not feel the food was unusually good. On our two visits we found the local specialties exceptional, especially the mussels, presentation beautiful and the food very good. Others thought it was too expensive given the lower prices of the generally inferior restaurants surrounding it. In any case we enjoyed the experience and would return.
Official Website: http://www.auxarmesdebruxelles.com/fr/